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Special Statement: Robert F. Worthington Jr., 1931 - 2017

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Baker Donelson is deeply saddened to announce the passing of senior counsel Robert F. Worthington Jr. Mr. Worthington, who was 85 years old, died on Friday, March 24, 2017.

A native of Clinton, Tennessee, Mr. Worthington began his legal career in 1957. In 1964, he and Senator Howard Baker co-founded the Knoxville law firm of Baker Worthington, which would merge in 1994, eventually resulting in the formation of what is now known as Baker Donelson, one of the largest law firms in the country. A graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, Mr. Worthington attended Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, TN and served in the U.S. Army as a First Lieutenant, Infantry, at Fort Benning, GA.

"Bob Worthington was not only an exceptional attorney who had a tremendous impact on this Firm, but he possessed one of the most generous spirits I've ever encountered," said Ben C. Adams Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Baker Donelson. "He was dependable as both a lawyer and a friend and we are grateful for his dedication to this Firm, but are more grateful for his friendship."

Mr. Worthington's legal career spanned 60 years and was focused on general corporate, public utilities and governmental relations. He was involved in local and state politics, serving as an alternate delegate in the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and as general counsel of the 1982 World's Fair, the Knoxville Utilities Board, the Tennessee Valley Industrial Committee and the Tennessee Gas Association.

Beyond his legal career, Mr. Worthington was an active member of the professional community and was a member of the first class of Leadership Knoxville. He was also a former Vice President and Director of the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Knoxville Public Building Authority.

"Bob was a true team player and demonstrated leadership in the workplace and in the community through his strong work ethic," said R. Culver Schmid, managing shareholder of Baker Donelson's Knoxville office. "He loved the practice of law and this Firm and he will be greatly missed."

Mr. Worthington was an advocate for the Knoxville community, a former Vice Chairman of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the Knoxville Zoological Society, the Boathouse Benevolent Society Inc. and the East Tennessee Historical Society. He also served as an advisory board member of the Cumberland Trail State Park, the Florence Crittenton Agency Inc. Development Council and the Community School of the Arts. Mr. Worthington served as chairman of the Board of Governors Club LeConte and as a board member of the Knoxville Opera Company.

Mr. Worthington was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 40 years, Judy. Mr. Worthington is survived by his daughters Betsy and Kathy and four grandchildren.

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